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Defense delivers for Tigers


James Bailey



MACON -- In a contest marred by 24 penalties and eight turnovers, the Noxubee County High School football team''s defense accounted for two touchdowns, one safety, and set up another score Friday night in a 28-7 victory against Memphis Sheffield. 


The Tigers'' once potent offense mustered only 130 rushing yards on 30 carries and 19 passing yards. 


Noxubee County''s only scoring drive on offense occurred in the first quarter when wide receiver Terrence Barron returned a punt 21 yards to give the Tigers first-and-10 at the Knights'' 34-yard line. But the yellow flags flew on the next play and a Noxubee County holding penalty backed them up 10 yards to the 44-yard line. 


Running back Ladarrell Hunt burst up the middle for 29 yards and the Tigers (4-1) had first-and-10 at the Memphis Sheffield 14. Three plays later, Corey Williams blasted up the middle with two minutes, 59 seconds left in the first quarter to give Noxubee County its first score. Jared Johnson kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead. 


From that point, the defense swarmed Memphis Sheffield running backs, harassed quarterbacks, and created turnovers. 


With only 40 seconds left in the first quarter, Memphis Sheffield quarterback Deuntre Williams was knocked back into his end zone for a safety that made it 9-0 at the end of the first quarter. 


The first quarter saw twice as many yellow flags flying through the air as footballs. Ten penalties, including two holding, false starts, and offsides penalties, disrupted the flow and indicated significant areas for both teams to correct. 


Noxubee County''s Ladarrell Hunt blocked a Memphis Sheffield punt and gave the Tigers a prime opportunity on the Memphis 19. But a holding and offsides penalty backed them up to the 30. Johnson, the quarterback, was sacked to put Noxubee County into a fourth-and-22. 


Johnson punted down to the Memphis Sheffield 5. With 5:43 remaining until halftime, Noxubee County defensive lineman Dylan Bradley recovered a Williams fumble in the end zone for the team''s second touchdown. Johnson''s extra point made it 16-0. 


Another Memphis Sheffield turnover occurred after the ensuing Noxubee County kickoff. 


On first-and-15 after a delay of game penalty, Williams threw an incompletion. On the next play Williams fumbled and Noxubee County linebacker Javoris Glenn recovered on the Memphis Sheffield 6. Two plays later, running back Darrell Robinson plunged 2 yards up the middle for Noxubee County''s third touchdown. Johnson''s kick failed, and the Tigers led 22-0 with 4:40 left in the first half. 


Noxubee County''s defense stood firm in the second half. 


Early in the third quarter, the Tigers created another turnover. Memphis Sheffield running back Diandre Jones fumbled after a 5-yard gain and Noxubee County linebacker Jacoby Jones picked up the football on the bounce and scampered 30 yards for the Tigers'' final touchdown. Johnson''s kick failed and the Tigers led 28-0. 


"We were all bunched up and somebody hit his elbow and caused the fumble," Jones said. "It was a big play. Any time you help your team win it''s a good thing." 


Senior defensive lineman Jacoby Harris swarmed around the football all night. He led Noxubee County with six solo tackles, four tackles with losses, two assists, two sacks, one hurry, and one forced fumble. 


He was glad that the Tigers bounced back from a 28-13 loss to West Point last week and was pleased with the play of the defense. 


"We used the technique our coaches taught us," Harris said. "It''s called ''let ''er rip''. You turn your shoulder in, head down, and go through the line. It worked for us tonight. We came back ready tonight after the West Point game. We have to work hard every week to make it to the championship." 


Memphis Sheffield (3-2) scored in the fourth quarter despite a swarming Noxubee County defense that held it to -5 rushing yards on 25 attempts. Memphis Sheffield completed only six passes for 46 yards. 


Noxubee County coach Tyrone Shorter was well aware of his offense''s miscues and its inability to come up with a big play. He said his offense will have to find its rhythm if it wants to defeat divisional foe Kosciusko on Friday. 


"We didn''t do anything on offense tonight," Shorter said. "We just didn''t get it done. Our defense showed up and kept us in the game. We had some key plays from our defense. We''ve got a long way to go on offense, though." 






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